LEADS CONDEMNS RECENT RISE IN INCIDENTS OF CHILD ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING
19 July, 2021: LEADS expresses its deep concern at the escalating incidents of abhorrent acts of cruelty, abuse, harassment and neglect of children in Sri Lanka. At a time of national crisis when all people of this country should unite as one to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, it is unfortunate that certain individuals are taking advantage of the circumstances and situations faced by innocent children and their families.
Among the recent media reports is the incident of trafficking of a 15-year-old for commercial sex work, a 300% increase in cybersex crimes targeting women and children, the arrest of a man who allegedly abused several school-girls through the internet, reported abuse of a 13-year-old by her father and other suspects, over 17,000 child pornography videos uploaded to the internet between 17 June and 28 July 2021 and around 4,000 complaints over child abuse cases and about 48,000 calls on child harassment received at the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) during the past six months of this year. LEADS is profoundly distressed to note the scale at which such heinous crimes are currently taking place and call on the National Child Protection Authority and the Sri Lanka Police to take necessary action to bring the perpetrators to justice and enforce vital safeguards to bring to halt organised crime, violence and abuse targeting children.
LEADS calls on all parents, guardians and caregivers of children to be more vigilant especially as children spend more time online for academic purposes. It also encourages the general public to report incidents of abuse, harassment, violence and neglect of children to the National Child Protection Authority’s Child Line – 1929, in a bid to alert authorities of any such incidents and assist them in safeguarding the children of Sri Lanka.
As a local non-governmental organisation dedicated to creating safer spaces and brighter futures for the children of Sri Lanka, LEADS reiterates its commitment to provide necessary psychosocial support, restorative care and legal aid for survivors of child abuse. It welcomes all children who wish to receive counselling and support through its centres in the Northern, Western and Uva Provinces and joins with all concerned organisations, civil societies and citizens to call for the eradication of crimes targeting the innocent lives of children.